Just. One. Book. (Your Questions Answered)

Hi. I don’t know how many writers have been reading this but you know how sometimes you write yourself into a corner on a project and you think I need to get up and move around some and think about what’s going to happen next. Where is this character going? Is she really going to do what I think she’s going to do?

So if you are like me, you get up and fold laundry or take a walk in the campground (I literally live right next to the campground in our town which means when I say I live in a forest, I totally mean I live in a forest).So that’s where I’ve been on my new book project. And while it’s non-fiction this time around there’s many places it could go so I fold laundry, clean out the kids rooms, write an article for the local paper, or speak with you all and add books/films/cds to round out what I hear is coming or that we have at the library. And all and all this system I set up for myself this week was so smooth that I was thinking to myself —look at you managing all this. The house is clean. Articles are written!  New chapter worked on! You even made killer breakfast burritos for the husband.  And then I log into my email and amazon and think OH MY GOODNESS! 200 people emailed me while I slept and the Amazon wish list which I culled from wants and needs of teachers and students and my own idea of what a library should have has gone from 700 items to 5.  Holy shit.

So now I feel inadequate. THANK YOU for making me feel inadequate and humbled by the great power of a collective voice of people who want to see more books in the hands of children and young adults. YOU are seriously rocking our world right now in the most positive way possible.

I realize that this morning before taking my car in for servicing I could 1) try and answer every single email and get a list back up or 2) I could write this blog post and try to include as much as possible to address concerns and questions.

So I’m doing the latter.

  1. We do accept lightly used books. I’m totally down for that and I don’t think any of the students mind.
  2. We do have people on my wee small committee looking into all your great suggestions regarding places that do grants. THANK YOU for the heads up and referrals.
  3. We are accepting classroom sets but are scrambling to figure out what next year looks like at the same time so please, hold that thought!
  4. We aren’t accepting old National Geographics as that’s the one thing we already have plenty of which I think was the last local donation made a few years back along with bodice ripper books. Since the kids didn’t have much in the way that was targeted to their age group, we really want YA fiction and literary classics over adult romance.
  5. YES! I know that the Amazon Wish List is down. You all were so much faster than me. Thank you for your generosity. I will (after work today) add to the list with the teachers lists and recommendations others have been giving me.

If you’ve been on the Amazon Wish List you may have thought my lists were a bit whacky. They –in a large part– reflect what our programs are as well as our interests. In a small town you get to know the kids and their interests. Am I a little concerned about my own son’s fascination with The Walking Dead? Sure but he also love’s the Howard Zinn books so. What’s more I birthed a next generation Nick Cave/Leonard Cohen fan so I’m good.

I thought you might want more details of what we do well. So here it is:

  1. As with many small towns—the schools’ extracurricular programs reflect available resources (people) who teach or volunteer teach/support/coach activities.
  2. Indian Valley Academy is a progressive school that focuses on 21st century skills and channeling student interests and abilities whether they are academically inclined or not.We have kids who have not succeeded in a traditional academic setting but we’ve channeled their interests to make things happen for them. We have kids who were bored in the traditional setting and need a place that doesn’t place boundaries on them. So our dyslexic student who loves to build things gets an opportunity to both catch up on his reading and build his inventions at the same time. Our programs include a chess team, a maker design class, a philanthropy group, a theater program, a wonderfully fun choir named “Puberty’s High Note”, film/video production, and traditional classes.
  3. Greenville High School is a traditional school and also has some programs that are top-notch given our puny size and strength. It has a strong band program with a teacher who has been with us 39 years and a culinary arts program that manages to win competitions through out the state. The schools are integrated for sports and in particular a rodeo program–four students i fact just competed on the state level in rodeo. With the help of the Sierra Institute and Feather River College’s Outdoor Rec Program, our students have been able to go on hiking and water based field trips. In the 6th grade all area tweens go on a series of field trips from the top of the Feather River watershed to where it ends in the San Francisco Bay to give them a better understanding of water and its importance.  Yeah, not the kind of field trips I got growing up in Los Angeles.

What we don’t have as the other posts have indicated–is a strong grounding in the written word.  What we don’t have is a better appreciation of diversity. You are helping to provide that. You are giving these kids access to other worlds outside our great but narrow focus. You are providing your own perspective and in doing so opens up our minds and hearts.



  1. Rummanah


    I know that you mentioned gently used books, but since I work at a library in a high school, would you be interested in receiving weeded library books that have the school and barcode label marked off. If that’s ok, please let me know at raasi at maine207.org and I will definitely keep you in mind throughout the school year.

  2. Ann Lang

    Congratulations for starting a massive, wonderful, and wonderfully successful thing. I have a hopefully helpful proposal: may I start a public Google Doc where people can list the books and media they’re sending / have sent? I thought that may prevent you receiving twelve sets of The Hunger Games where two would be sufficient. Then you could make a post with the link, and people could add to it to avoid duplication.

      1. LK Gasway

        I’ve added the books I purchased through Amazon. Thank you, Ann Lang, for making this Google Doc available.

  3. Andrea ( aka rokinrev) Stoeckel

    This is the reason the internet is a community. This is so great. I will love to see those bookcases filled and overflowing!

  4. Maria Lima

    What a great idea! I don’t have time/means to get to PO to send copies of my paperbacks and sadly, they are out of print, so I’ve gone to Amazon and ordered some other books for the library.


  5. Jon

    I run a literary journal out of Sacramento called FROM SAC and we’d love to send you the last three years of issues if you’d like them for your library. Just wasn’t sure if you want something like that. I think what you’re doing is amazing!

  6. Heather Lynn

    How do you feel about art books? I have some from museums in Europe when I went there a few years ago that are just sitting on my shelves. I would love them to go to a good cause but noticed art wasn’t anything you had mentioned anything about.

  7. Jay Wood

    It’s going to take me at least a week turn around time (have to order my own copies) but I was self published last week. I’m going to order a copy of my novel and whatever else i can fit into a book and ship it along. I hope there’s still room for it! I was a tad worried, because it is specifically LGBT fiction, but it looks like it’ll be in good hands!

  8. Laura Condit

    Would you be interested in withdrawn library materials? We recently weeded our YA collection and have some books in excellent condition that just didn’t circulate much. I’d be glad to send them on to someone who could use them!

  9. Tanya Egan Gibson

    I’ll send a signed copy of my novel, HOW TO BUY A LOVE OF READING, tomorrow. (It was marked as literary fiction for adults–some of the scenes would be better for older teens rather than for younger ones–but it has a 15-year-old protagonist.) What a very cool, wonderful, beautiful thing you are doing!

  10. Paige Miner

    Libraries and books saved me as a kid in high school. My 20th birthday is next week and in honor (not) being in high school anymore and of everything that the internet, fandom, and books have given to me, I’m sending a copy of Rainbow Rowell’s FANGIRL. It’s one of the only books I have truly seen myself represented in as a teenager, and I hope some of your students feel that way as well. Enjoy! –

  11. Laura J

    I saw in your comments that there’s a theater program (yay!). I have a bunch of brand spanking new scripts that I’ve always wanted to see go to a good cause. Could I send some of those?

  12. Lashette Williams

    Hi, would you accept a box or two of books? Most are fiction but by female authors from my personal collection. Interestingly enough, here in NYC the public library no longer accepts book gifts because they don’t have places to put them. Due to budget cuts several locations have closed so they are actually throwing out books because they can no longer keep them all. I can check to see if there’s a way you can connect with them too. But sending my books to your library would make me happy.

  13. historicaltruecrime

    I grew up in a community of 1200. I know what this struggle is like. I very much want to do something for you, but I’m not sure what. I got rid of many of my books in favor of my eReader.

    Do you have a subscription to The Sun yet? They happily provide subscriptions for those in need. Features new writers and photographers. Has moved me time and again.

  14. margaretelysiagarcia

    I was literally staring at a book where the illustration was of a woman pulling apart the corset-esque blouse she was wearing for some pirate looking guy. Today I found the Stepford wives in the 7th grade section. But sorry you took offense.

  15. hamletc1602

    I’m glad I heard about your appeal. Thanks for taking that first, brave step! My wife and I write YA fiction with strong diversity themes, also set in a small-ish town surrounded by forest 🙂 I’ve sent you our first two books. I hope they offer some inspiration to teen readers. (Especially those in the geekier side like us) Cheers!

  16. Leah Larkin

    Hello. I subscribe to Family Circle magazine and with my upcoming renewal, I get s free gift subscription. So I guess my question is one, would you like a subscription to Family Circle and if yes, what address should I send it to? Not sure since it would be an ongoing thing what the best address would be? Thank you 🙂

  17. K

    Maybe you can start an account on thrift books & start a wish list over there. They have textbooks & other books (think a gently used Amazon) but specifically for books. They have an awesome selection & shipping is usually free if the order is over $10

  18. nycpixie22

    How about your younger children, elementary school aged and younger? What reading resources do they have? Having a diverse selection of easily available reading material is necessary at any age, and it sounds like your youth population in total may be underserved.

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